Requests for Work Capability Assessments to be recorded

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

During a Commons Debate on 17 July 2012, Chris Grayling, in response to a question by Mr Frank Reid, said Atos has been asked to accommodate requests for the audio recording of work capability assessments where a claimant makes the request in advance of their assessment. He also said that there may be times when the audio recording facility may not be available. The full text of Mr Reid's question and the reply from Mr Grayling can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa... under 'Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations'

Based on Mr Grayling's comments, I would like to request the following information:

Between September 2011 and August 2012,
1. How many claimants made advance requests for their assessment to be audio-recorded?

2. Of the claimants in Item 1, how many of their assessments were audio-recorded when they attended the assessment?

3. Of the claimants in Item 1 whose assessments were not audio-recorded:
3a. how many were informed in advance that their assessment will not be audio-recorded? Of these, how many assessments were rescheduled?
3b. how many were informed when they turned up for the assessment that their assessment would not be audio-recorded? Of these, how many assessments were rescheduled?

4. If audio recording has been arranged for an assessment, is it standard practice to send the claimant written confirmation? If it isn't, what's the rationale behind this?

For items 1 and 2, I would be grateful if I could get a breakdown of the figures by: Physical disability, learning disability, sensory impairment, mental health, illness/health condition.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
A C Smithson

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Dear DWP freedom-of-information-requests,

I am still awaiting a response to my FoI request. By law, I should have received a response by 17 September 2012.

Yours sincerely,

A C Smithson

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear AC Smithson

Please find enclosed a response to your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act by the Medical Services Contract Correspondence
Team Freedom of Information Officer.

<<3713-3218 A Smithson response.pdf>>

Kind regards

Medical Services Contract Correspondence Unit, Department for Work and
Pensions, Room 306, Block 3, Norcross, Norcross Lane, Blackpool, FY5 3TA
Tel 01253 611556, extn 69956

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Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

Thanks for the response.

Q3 in my FoI request was not about number of claimant requests turned down. Q3 was about the claimants in Q1 whose assessments were not audio-recorded. Based on your response the figure would be 432.
a. how many were informed in advance that their assessment will not be audio-recorded? Of these, how many assessments were rescheduled?
b. how many were informed when they turned up for the assessment that their assessment would not be audio-recorded? Of these, how many assessments were rescheduled?

A prompt response would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

A C Smithson

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Requests for Work Capability Assessments to be recorded'.

Some of the information requested has not been provided. My request was made on 19 August 2012.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/re...

Yours faithfully,

A C Smithson

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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J Newman left an annotation ()

The demand quoted here is already twice what Atos reported during the trial and without any notification that the facility is available, so this has been achieved solely by word of mouth – makes you wonder what true demand would be. It would be interesting to see the trend month by month.

Not sure I follow the numbers: 937-505=432 - ??? 505-452=53 presumably have just not taken place yet.
My biggest concern is some of us will be denied what could be a crucial piece of appeal evidence, which breaks the promise of treating everyone equally. This is then open to abuse where non-availability could be targeted at certain individuals to influence tribunal outcomes. I just do not see how this position is tenable.

A C Smithson left an annotation ()

J Newman

The 53 (which is 505-452) in your annotation is for the number of accommodated requests that have not yet taken place.

Requests Received = 937
Requests Accommodated = 505
Requests Completed = 452

If 937 requests were received and 505 have been accommodated, then 432 requests have not been accommodated (937-505 = 432). That's quite a high number of requests being turned down. I'm trying to find out when they were informed that they could not get their assessments recorded and whether they were given the option of rescheduling the assessment.

The people who get the recording done are those who can put up a fight. Sadly, it's often the most vulnerable who are least likely to fight and I don't see this sorry situation changing any time soon.

J Newman left an annotation ()

Thanks for the maths lesson – I thought that this is what the 432 implied, but could not believe the proportion would be so high.

I do agree with your depressing prognosis. To add insult to injury, unless one accepts whatever is offered, one is deemed “uncooperative” with the risk or reprisals.

Regards, John

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear A C Smithson,

Please find attached response to your Freedom of Information request dated
18 September 2012.

<<IR595 A Smithson Response.pdf>>

Thank you

Correspondence Team

Business Management Team | Department for Work and Pensions | DWP
Contracted Customer Services Directorate | 306, Block 3 | North Fylde
Central Office | Norcross | FY5 3TA|  [1]www.dwp.gov.uk | Please consider
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DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear AC Smithson,

Please see attached response to your recent FOI request; our reference IR617.

Yours Sincerely,

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and Pensions / Room 306 / Block 3 /Norcross / Norcross Lane / Blackpool / FY5 3TA

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